Press release

IISD Survey to Reach 3,000 Manitoba Homes

January 13, 2008

Poll to measure understanding of sustainable development

(January 14, 2008, Winnipeg) The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), with support from the Government of Manitoba, the University of Northern British Columbia, and the University of Manitoba, is pleased to announce the release of the Sustainable Development Survey.

The survey, spearheaded by IISD's Knowledge Communications program, is designed to assess Manitobans' understanding of sustainable development. Using random sampling, 3,000 Manitoba homes across the province will receive the poll in the coming days. The survey is composed of 55 questions probing respondents about their thoughts on such topics as climate change, corporate social responsibility, biodiversity and ecosystems. The results will be presented to the Manitoba Education for Sustainable Development Working Group (MESDWG), established in 2005 to support and foster a culture of sustainable development education in the province.

Heather Creech, IISD Director of Knowledge Communications, notes that current information on what people really understand about sustainable development is limited and often contradictory. While some local polling indicates strong levels of support for environmental issues, others suggest Manitobans don't consider environmental concerns a top-of-mind priority.

"Right now, public survey and polling data on sustainable development concerns among Manitobans are very limited. What information that is out there is unclear. We want to know how Manitobans perceive the term sustainable development and what they know about it. We also want to revisit these questions in the future, so we can track how understandings of sustainable development change over the next several years," says Creech.

The survey comes three years into a UNESCO-led decade-long initiative to champion sustainable development education. The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development runs from 2005–2014 and strives to integrate the principles, values and practices of sustainable development into education and learning.

Creech also notes that no data exist on youth perceptions of sustainable development, something the Sustainable Development Survey will begin to address.

"It's three years into the UN Decade for Sustainable Development Education. Youth are a big part of that initiative, so it's important to find out how much of this message has already gotten through, and in the process create a benchmark so we can measure changes over time," she says. A second survey, designed for students from grades 6 to 12, will be also be tested shortly.

IISD is supported in its efforts by grants from the provincial Sustainable Development Innovation Fund and from the Department of Education, Citizenship and Youth. The Institute for Social Research and Evaluation at the University of Northern British Columbia and the Department of Education at the University of Manitoba are providing expertise in survey methodology.

IISD is a Canadian-based not-for-profit organization with a team of 60 employees based in Winnipeg (our head office), Ottawa, Geneva and New York. IISD is further extended by an additional 90 interns, writers, and researchers in 30 countries around the world. At its core, IISD supports the integration of economic, social and environmental considerations into decision-making. Its vision is better living for all—sustainably; its mission, to champion innovation, enabling societies to live sustainably.

For more information, please call 204-958-7711, or contact Stuart Slayen or

  • Heather Creech
    Director, Knowledge Communications
    International Institute for Sustainable Development
    Phone: 204-958-7735
    Cell: 204-962-0307

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.